20141124

141124 Chicken Mini Coop

This very small Coop is modeled after my 10yo larger coop and is somewhat of an experiment although it is a very real usable Chicken coop. I intend to measure it's efficiency and performance thru the winter (NOTE: I did, ... very successful)
It's 4x4, enough for 2 or 3 Chickens but CAN be made in ANY larger size for dozens of Chickens. My existing much larger coop/aviary is plenty large enough for me to walk inside, and the Chickens can fly. Short sleeve shirt is all you need and be warm on a sunny cold winter day.

.. This is NOT the way I would usually build one. This one is built in 3 detachable pieces so I can bring it to my "The Art of Keeping Chicken Classes" in my van.  One built to not be portable would have much less material and would look less complicated and it can easily be made to look "cute".
The idea is to gain as much energy from the sun as possible while at the same time make the coop very efficient to maintain with Chickens in it. Even with NO sun the aviary portion is usually 15 degrees warmer (free)  than outside while the coop is always above freezing. The angles and proportions are important.  The ventilation, fans, sizes, timers, lights, etc are also very important. Many other details are also very important to it's success. It's mouse-proof also. Snow usually slides off of the solar surface, if not, a gentle tap usually causes the snow to slide off.
. . The solar surface area ratio to the cubic feet is much smaller than my other coops so it will likely cost about the same or more in electricity to heat as my MUCH larger coop (maybe $5? per year for the small one?).  Other aspects of the coop are the same as my larger coop (Easy to clean, etc).
NOTE - It actually only cost 24 cents to keep this mini coop above freezing for the entire winter.... my large 20 Chicken walk-in coop only costs $5 to stay above freezing.
Most of my Chicken keeping methods and techniques are not apparent from the photos.

. . In winter the entire outside area is covered with inexpensive 8mm clear plastic (shown in the photos) over the 1/2" wire cloth.  That retains the solar gain and protects the Chickens from drafts of any kind.  In summer, the solar surface is covered with foil backed foam panels to give the chickens the coolest place they can possibly be on hot summer days.






It is almost December ... about 25 degrees outside, but quite warm in the aviary (100 in sun). That excess aviary heat gets drawn into the Coop warming it for the night. In summer the solar surface is covered with a cheap reflective panel making it the coolest place the Chickens can be.

20141123

141123 Pigeons Egyptian Swift



NAMING CEREMONY today ... My two beautiful Egyptian Swift Pigeons
Meet Cleopatra (Cleo), and Nile, a matched pair.
I won them at a pigeon show recently and I'm thrilled to have them.
. . Egyptian Swifts have been bred in Egypt for 4,000 years but only introduced to the rest of the world in 1925. They are still rare outside of Egypt.
. . They are sleek and small, 10", 3/4 pound but have a 30" wingspan.
. . They are similar to Homers in performance, up to 60mph, but only have homing abilities of about 50 miles vs Homers many hundreds, and they fly quite high, 600 feet for 2 to 4 hours then return home.
. . Cooper Hawks and Falcons are their biggest threat but they have learned to make abrupt maneuvers and can usually survive an attack (I hope).
. . They are very gentle and calm birds, very beautiful, I'm in love. Just today I finished their quarters in the outdoor aviary. I won't release them to fly for a few months, to make sure they know where home is.

20141107

Dear Diary - Nov 7, 2014 Harris snowblower on tractor

Dear Diary - Nov 7, 2014
. . There were no mosquitoes at out cabin today. Went up to put the snow blower and chains and cab doors on the tractor, and some minor fixing at the cabin. Installing the 300# blower is a bit challenging, took us about 2+ hours. It was cold ... nice to have a heated workshop in the pole barn. Simon Pigeon was bored waiting for us.
. . Stopped and saw my neighbor Kevin. He's the one who fell off the 3 story farmhouse roof, broke his back (Would have died if not for his cell phone) and now mostly paralyzed from the waist down but is doing better and better each time I see him (He bought my old farmhouse and 10 acres).... ... . You and I have it made compared to him. The hardships and difficulties he has to endure just to exist. He lives there alone and happy, with his wonderful German Shepherd .. don't know how he manages staying there alone (Blog coming some day about this amazing guy Kevin).
. . Kaffee Stuga - We stopped at our favorite restaurant in Harris MN on the way back home to town. It was crowded. Two older fellows in bib overalls let us share their table. Interesting fellows. I love small towns ... so casual and friendly. Turns out they want to attend my next "Chicken Keeping" class. I have new friends now. BTW the $6.95 Clam dinner was delicious.
. . It's the Day before Deer hunting so the traffic heading north as we headed south was bumper to bumper for all 50 miles... commuters and deer hunters. Didn't see any deer at the cabin.
. . In two weeks going up again to help a neighbor clean a 3/4 mile drainage ditch that was entirely on my land. Over the years, there is nearly a forest along the ditch from the lake now. Must cut all the trees and clean out the 30 foot wide ditch. If a wet year, about 7 acres of my crop land and about 20 of his can get flooded. He's going to rent a gigantic backhoe.
. . So back home now again... recovering.
.
Picture is the two back 40s with ditch in foreground on the front 40 (trees off pic to right), Lake beyond the trees in back.

20141104

Voting, Simon seems to be neither Right wing or Left wing.

Simon seems to be neither Right wing or Left wing since he tends to fly straight, not in circles. He wouldn't say, but I think he voted down the middle?

20141103

My Back Yard. A very very low cloud. There's a lake beyond the trees and the morning mist is spilling over onto my fields at my Harris MN farm.